Businesses that depend on attracting new customers are always highly competitive, with many avenues for marketing and advertising often needing time to bring results. However, one tried and true marketing strategy has seen significant returns on investment throughout the years – roadshow marketing events.
Roadshow events provide a physical platform where businesses can showcase their products and services, as well as network with many potential clients, to reinforce their brand presence. As such, the investment made in terms of equipment hired for the event, plus the costs of manning the roadshow, can be paid back several times over through successful connections made through interpersonal interactions between the company and the client.
What is a Roadshow Event?
A roadshow event is a type of marketing activity that involves travelling to multiple locations to promote a product, service, or brand. Everything you need for the upcoming events can be packed into a vehicle and then taken on the road. On your arrival, you can create your platform in pre-booked locations, interacting with a wide audience. Your platform can be anything from stands to an entire roadshow truck that has been customised to open up and provide an area for you and your customers to interact.
The purpose of a roadshow can range from demonstrations of products, services or technology, to simply giving out free samples. Some companies use them to launch a product, while others might even use them to launch educational or business related seminars.
Roadshow events are highly flexible and scalable. Regardless of whether you’re a start-up company looking to generate a buzz about your unique line of products, or an established company with its own identity, roadshows can be tailored to your specific objectives.
How do you plan a roadshow event, from the personnel to the equipment to the bookings? Read on to find out.
Phase 1 – Objectives
As with any significant endeavour, planning an event roadshow starts with setting clear, concise, and measurable objectives. This phase is foundational, as it establishes the roadmap that guides the entire planning process and eventual execution of the roadshow.
What do you aim to achieve with your roadshow? Perhaps you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, foster client relationships, or launch a new product. The objectives can be varied but should always be relevant to your overall business goals.
Understanding these objectives allows you to design an event that caters specifically to these needs. For instance, if your goal is lead generation, the event’s structure and activities should be geared towards engaging potential clients and capturing their details. If it’s client relationship building, the event might focus more on networking and providing value to existing clients.
The objectives should follow the SMART criterion – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This approach enables you to track the success of your event in a quantifiable way. For example, instead of setting a vague goal like “increase brand awareness,” a SMART goal would be “attract 200 attendees and secure 50 new leads from the roadshow.”
Remember, clear objectives not only provide direction but also serve as a benchmark for measuring the success of your event roadshow.
Phase 2 – Audience
The second piece of the puzzle is to figure out your target audience. Once you determine this, you will have the foundations you need to build an event strategy. Finding your audience will determine the tone, content and overall presentation of your roadshow.
Ask yourself, who would be interested in your products? Where would you find these people? What are their challenges with your product, what motivates them, and what experiences do they value?
The following method should allow you to gather worthwhile information:
- Customer data – Your business likely already has customers. Take a look at what they all have in common in terms of characteristics, behaviours, preferences and complaints.
- Surveys – By directly asking your target audience what they want, you can yield many useful answers; but keep in mind that word of mouth is not always as reliable as watching clear behaviour.
- Social media – Social media will strongly inform you of the values of your target audience.
- Market research – Analysing existing research and trends within your industry can yield results on where your audience fits within the market.
- Competitor analysis – Your competitors’ actions and their customers’ reactions can give great insight into what to do, and what not to do.
With the information gathered, you can go on to create personas for your customers. These personas will be made up of characteristics, behaviours, preferences, likes and dislikes. By targeting those who align with your identified personas, you are speaking to people who closely resemble your audience.
Phase 3 – Budgeting
With both your objective and your audience defined, the next big thing to figure out is how much you’re willing to invest. Your budget will determine your scope, quality and likelihood of success – but it goes both ways.
The first stop should be listing all the potential costs of your project. Start with the following:
- Venue hire
- Event equipment
- Marketing and promotion
- Technology support
- Food and drink
- Emergency funds
Prioritise your budget in favour of your objectives and audience. Essentially, think about how you would be able to best present your services. Are high-tech demonstrations critical and necessary? Cut anything that isn’t needed.
Also, think about optimisation. Could you perhaps get corporate partnerships or sponsorships to help cover the costs of the operation? Do you have rules in place for what is used when and where? By judging each situation with prioritisation in mind, you should be able to get through the roadshow event easily.
Phase 4- Location
Selecting the right locations for your roadshow is a crucial strategic decision that can greatly influence its success. Your venue locations need to align with your event objectives and target audience demographics.
First, you must ensure that the locations are easily accessible to your target audience. A central, well-connected location can increase turnout. Consider proximity to public transport links, parking availability, and travel time for attendees.
Next, investigate the facilities and amenities the venue offers. Does it have suitable spaces for all your planned activities? Is there enough room for exhibitors and attendees to move around comfortably?
Consider the ambience and vibe of the location, too. It should resonate with your event theme and brand image to create a coherent, impactful experience. You must also take into account the cost and the availability. Early booking can prevent scheduling conflicts and may provide opportunities for negotiation on rental fees.
Phase 5 – Logistics and Staffing
A well-orchestrated roadshow relies on precise logistical planning. From transportation and equipment handling to accommodation, each detail plays a pivotal role in the smooth functioning of your event. It’s crucial to outline the logistical requirements, including vehicle hire for transport, arranging reliable freight for equipment, and booking suitable accommodation for staff if necessary.
Equally important is assembling a skilled and reliable team. Each team member, whether they’re handling the technical or logistical aspects, guest relations, or on-site operations, has a distinct role that contributes to the overall success of the roadshow. Ensuring roles and responsibilities are assigned and understood is vital to avoid confusion or oversight.
Phase 6 – Promotion
Your event roadshow, no matter how meticulously planned, cannot succeed without an audience. This is where promotion comes in, acting as the lifeblood of your event’s visibility and attendance rates.
Start by crafting a compelling narrative about your roadshow. Why should people be interested? What unique value or experience are you offering? Your promotional content should not just inform, but also excite and inspire your target audience to attend.
Diversify your promotional efforts across multiple channels to maximise reach. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can be used for quick updates, sharing behind-the-scenes content, or sparking conversations. A dedicated event website or page can provide comprehensive details and seamless registration. Email campaigns can deliver personalised invitations and important updates to those who’ve shown interest.
Local media coverage, industry blogs, and partnerships with complementary businesses, can amplify your reach beyond your own networks. Tailor your message to each channel, making sure it speaks to the specific audience you are targeting.
A well-executed promotional strategy can greatly enhance your roadshow’s visibility and success, turning interested leads into confirmed attendees. Remember, effective promotion is about more than spreading the word; it’s about creating anticipation, engaging potential attendees, and fostering a sense of community even before the event begins.
Phase 7 – Execution and Event Day
The final stretch of the roadshow planning process is the execution phase. Here, all your planning culminates into action. It’s crucial to have a thorough run-through of the event schedule, ensuring everyone involved understands their roles. On the day, keep communication lines open, stay adaptable, and maintain a solution-oriented mindset.
No event goes without hiccups, so contingency planning is essential. Whether it’s technical glitches, last-minute cancellations, or unexpected weather, having a ‘Plan B’ ensures your event runs smoothly, no matter what happens.
Remember, the success of your roadshow ultimately hinges on your ability to deliver a compelling experience that attendees find valuable and memorable. As you embark on this exciting journey of planning your event roadshow, keep these strategies in mind to help navigate your path to success. After all, a well-executed roadshow not only generates leads and drives sales but also builds lasting relationships and brand loyalty.